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Camp Colby

DEC regrets to announce that its in-person summer camps program will not operate in 2021.

The health and safety of our campers and staff have always been the top priority for DEC summer youth camps. Camp staff worked diligently to review guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, American Camp Association, and other residential camps to develop a plan to be able to welcome campers this summer.

After careful consideration we determined there are too many uncertainties beyond our control to ensure our camps could open and operate safely.

While we are sad to make this announcement, we are making plans to create fun virtual opportunities for the summer of 2021 so campers and their families can stay connected to the DEC camp program.

Check out the DEC camps webpage to find out what we're planning and contact us at if you have any topics you'd like to see in our line-up. And mark your calendars-2022 is the 75th anniversary of the camp program and we want you to help us celebrate!

Camper cabins at Camp Colby sit among many trees
Camper cabins at Camp Colby

Campers ages 11-13 Weeks 1 - 3 and 5

Campers ages 14-17 Week 4

Camp Colby is located on the western shore of Lake Colby, just outside the Village of Saranac Lake, in the Adirondacks.

Formerly a private estate, Colby was purchased by the State in 1961 from William Morris of the William Morris Theatrical Agency. During Morris' ownership, it was known as Camp Intermission because theatrical clients were invited there for rest, relaxation and to get away from hectic city life. When you turn into Camp Colby the gate pillars still bear the comedy and tragedy masks from its past.

Adventure, Education, Fun! The DEC Camp Experience

A week at Colby promises fun and adventure in the gorgeous Northern Adirondacks. Sometimes campers are able to pick the activities they want to participate in from a handful being offered while at other times everyone participates in the same game or activity.

Kids fishing on the shore of Lake colby
Campers fish on the shore of Lake Colby

Lesson groups at camp cover a range of topics led by camp counselors with backgrounds in science, education, or recreation. Lessons might include a examining insects and flowers in a field or meadow, using nets along the lake shore to study macroinvertebrates and aquatic systems, or venturing in the forest to learn about diversity and forestry. Throughout the week campers engage in activities that emphasize basic ecological concepts about habitats, species identification, and how organisms and habitats adapt to changes. They also consider environmental solutions through activities and scenarios that encourage campers to make decisions that mitigate their impacts on the environment around them.

At camp children have a chance to try new skills, including archery, canoeing, fishing, birding, or taking a hunter education program. Hunter education programs are limited and offer campers a chance to complete their safety certificates on the path to a hunting or trapping license. Visit the Hunter Education Program at Camps page to learn more. Educators from the I FISH NY program also visit camp to teach about fishing and fish identification.

Day trips might include hiking Adirondack trails, canoeing in nearby lakes, or visiting local nature museums as the week allows. Each week campers also go on one overnight trip and learn camping skills.

Campers on Giant Mountain hiking
Campers atop Giant Mountain on a hiking adventure

Overnight trips at Colby frequently use sites in the high peaks, the Lower 54, or the Saranac 6, giving campers a chance to experience the Adirondack Park. The ECO challenge stays at camp during the overnight, sleeping outside but onsite, and includes other outdoor activities such as additional time for fishing or archery, recreation games, or crafts.

Of course, camp also includes skits by counselors and campers, songs, campfires, swimming, and recreation games to round out the week. Many of the games and activities at camp are from environmental education programs like Project Wild or Project Learning Tree allowing campers to play games while further reinforcing ecological concepts. College-educated counselor staff guide all activities, encouraging participation and respect among group members while interpreting the natural world for campers.

Visit our weekly camp schedule page to get an idea of what at week at camp looks like.

Visit the How to Register for Camp web page to begin your Camp Colby adventure.

Directions to Camp Colby

Camp Colby
90 Camp Colby Road
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

map of nys showing camp colby

From the West via NYS Thruway to Utica thru the Adirondacks:

Take I-90 East to the Rt. 8/Rt. 12 Exit 31. Continue straight on Rt. 12 for 22 .6 miles to the Rt. 28 N exit towards Old Forge. Merge onto NY 28 through Old Forge, Raquette Lake and Blue Mountain Lake. In Blue Mountain Lake take Rt. 28N and Rt. 30 to Long Lake continuing on Rt. 30 to Tupper Lake. Take Rt. 30/Rt. 3 until they split and continue on Rt. 3 until Saranac Lake. Take a left onto Rt. 86 at the second light. Follow the "airport signs" out of the Village on Rt. 86. Pass The Adirondack Medical Center Hospital on the right and take the next left at the four corner intersection. Bear left between the two stone pillars and follow the signs to Camp Colby.

From the North/South and East:

Take 87 (Northway) to Exit 30 (US 9 and Rt. 73). Take a left onto Rt. 9 and continue to NY Rt. 73 North by following all signs to Lake Placid. Once you pass the ski jump towers (entering Lake Placid) veer left onto Old Military Rd. (County Rd. 35) and follow it to the end. Take a left, putting you back on Rt. 86 and proceed to downtown Saranac Lake. At the second light follow the "airport signs" out of the Village on Route 86. Pass The Adirondack Medical Center Hospital on the right and take the next left at the four corner intersection. Bear left between the two stone pillars and follow the signs to Camp Colby.

Travel time from major cities

Buffalo: 5 hours 45 minutes
Rochester: 5 hours
Syracuse: 3 hours 45 minutes
Albany: 2 hours 30 minutes
New York City: 5 hours

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    Albany, NY 12233-5256
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